“Traffic light” labeling for meat, fish, bread and dairy products

May 8, 2018 12:20 pm

The Russian Federal Service has published a document to establish food content standards

“Traffic light” labeling also for Russian food products. The Federal Rospotrebnadzor service has in fact provided for this summer a new system to indicate to consumers the rate of sugar, salt and fat of food exposed on the shelves of supermarkets and shops. The products that will be labeled are: meat, fish, bread and dairy products.

Therefore, starting this summer, a red, yellow or green labeling prototype will be launched, depending on the critical level of the nutrients contained in food. The federal service has arranged labeling for industrial food products, which are the main sources of salt, sugar, trans fats and fatty acids. Specifically, it is bread, meat, fish and dairy products, canned food and vegetables, juices and sweets.

To establish standards, Rospotrebnadzor provided a document containing the calculations of the daily rules for the consumption of sugar, salt, trans fats and fatty acids for all categories of products. Depending on compliance with these standards, the service recommends identification on the package. For example, 0.7 g of sodium chloride per 100 g of meat and bread would indicate that the daily dose of this substance is exceeded and a red dot must therefore be applied to the product. Less than 0.12 g of chloride, on the other hand, correspond to a low salt content, therefore a green dot must be applied to the package. The interval between these values is the average level of salt content, for which the yellow dot must therefore be applied.

The “traffic light” labeling proposed by Rospotrebnadzor will not apply to the following product groups: food raw materials, refined sugar, vegetable oil and butter, lard, bacon and other products with a simple food matrix.

The document also underlines that in recent years in developed countries, including Russia, there is a tendency for non-communicable diseases to grow: overweight, obesity, diabetes, type II diabetes, etc. The main reason for their appearance is caused by poor nutrition, characterized by foods with a high content of sugar, salt and fat. According to the Ministry of Health, in 2011 there were 856.5 cases of obesity per 100,000 people, in 2016 the figure increased to 1245.6 cases.

The executive director of RusRrenda, Alexei Popovichev, stressed that consumers already know products that are high in salt or sugar. But the colored stamps on traditional products can surprise and disorient citizens. Smoking, irrational food habits, lack of physical activity and harmful use of alcohol are the causes of the high incidence of non-communicable diseases. This is stated in the draft of the Strategy for the development of a healthy lifestyle of the Ministry of Health. The main non-communicable diseases are the main cause of temporary disability, disability and mortality. They have a pronounced negative impact on the socio-economic situation of the country. In Russia, the mortality rate for the main non-communicable diseases is 67.6% of the total deaths of the population.

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